Mobile ‘a must-have’ for children

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Eight out of 10 children have a mobile phone and more than nine out of 10 own a games console, according to a new survey.

About 80% of children aged between eight and 15 have a mobile, on which they run up monthly bills averaging £9.18, the Halifax research shows.

Unsurprisingly, both mobile phone ownership and its cost increases with age, with 94% of children aged between 12 and 15 having a mobile and bills coming in at £10.45 a month, compared with 66% of eight to 11-year-olds, who run up bills of £7.02 on their phones each month.

But only 21% of children pick up the cost of having a mobile themselves, with 72% relying on their parents to pay the bill.

The survey showed that 91% of children have a games console, with boys more likely to have one than girls, at 95%, compared with 87% of girls.

Boys also spend more on computer games and equipment each month at an average of £11.56, compared with £7.77 for girls.

A further 7% of children have an iPod or MP3 player, with 44% regularly downloading music from the internet.

Children in Wales were most likely to have a games console with 100% of those surveyed owning one, while 94% of children in Wales also had a mobile phone, compared with just 75% in Scotland.

Mobile phone bills were highest in London, with children there running up an average bill of £11.55 a month, while they are lowest in the South West at £7.00.

TNS questioned 1,204 children aged between eight and 15 between August 26 and September 2.

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